Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting Tight

When these photos were taken, one didn't get bombed, fried, wasted or hammered. One got tight. What is the power of language? If drinking is about getting tight, does that imply a level of self control no matter how much is alcohol is consumed? When one gets wasted, does that imply drinking to insensibility? Stamped on the back, "VOC PHOTO SCHOOL" I assume that VOC means vocational.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Original Romanos Truppe

I think I'm going to pass on my usual habit of typing out every single word on the back of a photo with this image. The circus is identified as "Original Romanos Truppe" followed by an address for their next performance. Too, "Mme. Lydia Ritzen," followed by an address, and a telephone number for Hamburg, Germany. She is listed as "agentur." My German is pretty limited, but even I know that means she's the agent. Some German words are just too long, my excuse for laziness.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Worrisome Child

Pa, Ma, the sensible daughter, and the one who caused trouble. But did she have fun?

The Last Fair Use Alert

This is it. The last time I'll post about Fair Use,, my new blog where I publish non photographic images from my collection as well as things of interest I've found on line. After this, people will have to find it on there own.

Once again, I've put up three images, my self imposed weekly limit. A bookplate by German artist Michel Fingesten. He's not very well know, but in my opinion, worth a look. A book by Richard Halliburton, once a best selling author of travel books, now almost out of print. And finally a still from a German silent movie starring Marlene Dietrich. When I was in high school our library had an encyclopedia that listed T.S. Elliot, born in the United States but a naturalised British citizen as a British author. The same encyclopedia listed W. H. Auden, born in England but a naturalised American as a British author. I always wondered about that. Anyway, Dietrich became an American citizen in 1939, so that's how I identified her.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Doris McClelland, 1946

It's a good thing it's another full year to Christmas, because this is it, the last of my holiday themed photos. Written on the back, "Doris McClelland age 16, 1946, 506 Bank, St." Standing beside Max's Grocery, shopping for a Christmas tree. Doris if you're still alive, 81 years old, do you remember Max's, or has it all faded?

Friday, December 23, 2011

The German American Collection, The Ones With the Children

Click on German American in the labels section to bring up the rest of the lot and save me from doing another explanation of the group. Only one print is labeled, the last one in the column. "Can you believe it?" Can you believe what?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Toys

Same publisher as yesterday's post but not so sad and pathetic. Close, but not quite. I'll give this image one bit of praise, I was born about fifity or so years after this photo was taken, (I'm guessing it was taken about 1900 to 1910 going by yesterday's image), and when I was a kid, I would have loved to play with the toy streetcar.

Fair Use Alert

This week's Fair Use posts are up. A portrait of actress and show girl Olive Thomas. Commissioned by producer Flo Ziegfeld after her death in 1920, it shows Olive as he remembered her. Olive Thomas was born into poverty in Charleroi, PA, she ended up in New York as one of Ziegfeld's show girls, and possibly a mistress as well. Eventually she moved on to Hollywood, became quite successful in silent movies and then died young of an accidental poisoning. Also Tenzing Norgay on Mt. Everest, one of the first two men to summit. Edmund Hillary has always been given credit as the first man on top, but both Hillary and Tenzing always said that they did it together and declined to name the actual first. And finally a bit of mid (20th) century modernist architecture. The promise of which, high quality homes made form prefabricated parts, sold for affordable prices, was never realized.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Under the Mistletoe

I don't have many Christmas themed images in my collection and this one is just sad and pathetic. Titled Under the Mistletoe, it could just as easily by Valentine's Day or Violating the Maid. It's no wonder that the publisher didn't put his mark on the card.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Football Banquet

The high school season is over, the bowl season is just getting under way, and the pros are closing out the season. Take a look at the decorations. These five ladies are standing in front of a stage with a football themed graphic. Before school boy sports gained it's cult like status; before parents hired personal coaches to prepare their children for college and, with a bit of luck, a pro sports career, they would get all dressed up, and hold a pot luck diner at the local VFW hall and pledge money for uniforms, balls, and maybe a couple of new pieces of training equipment.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nurses In Action

Take a close look at the woman on the right. It took my best magnifying glass to make out the Caduceus and words, "National Nurses" behind her. But National Nurses what? I typed National Nurses A.U. into Google and up came articles about nursing in Australia. Not very helpful. My best guess would be Ambulance Unit, and while that's just a guess, it's one that makes sense. Nurses have always been on the front lines of wars and national disasters. In many cases beating doctors into the fray. Today, nurses are at the forefront for patient's rights and leading the fight for national health care. Perhaps we need a Nurse General rather than a Surgeon General.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Up On the Roof

The roof is a place to escape the mundane aspects of our lives. This picture has been cut form a larger print. Written on the back, "...ent it...on't lose this...f you have one...March 21-3-3..." And of course, those little dots represent the parts of the message that have either been torn off or cut off.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Epworth League Album 37, The End

Another low level, staring off into space, precursor of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, photo. Not the image I would have chosen to end this album, but appropriate, nevertheless. There is no excuse now. Time to click on Epworth League in the labels section to view the entire collection, in order.

Fair Use Notice

This week's posts for Fair Use,, my new blog of non photographic bits and pieces form my collection as well as things I've found online that I find fascinating, are up and ready to view. There is a photograph of white,emancipated slaves. For those who don't get the significance of that, I'd suggest reading Puddin' Head Wilson by Mark Twain. A depression era painting from Los Angles, and my first repeat, a second painting form German artist, Max Beckmann. Click on his name in the labels section, and they can be seen together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Epworth League Album 35, What A Tree

Two more pages, two more single photos, two more to go and then it's bye bye to the Epworth League. I'll bet both of these images got sent back home. Yes Virginia, we do have really, really tall palm trees, and cactus gardens too. Of course, Iowa has the Mississippi River and L. A.'s river is just a tiny little thing. Can't have everything.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Epworth League Album 34, To The Parapets

I don't know if the same person took all the photos in this album, but I do know that this last batch of photos all have a similar style. Low angles, somewhat off compositions, and that whole thing were some of the subjects look at the camera while others stare off into space. This buildings look like it's made of stone, increasing the chances that it's still standing. I don't recognize it, but if anyone out there does, please leave a comment.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Epworth League Album 33, The Final Push

It's time to finish up the Epworth League photo album. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to break down the last few pages, but it won't be more than four more posts, maybe three. I just don't know yet. Hey, does anyone out there recognize the train station in the first photo? It's killing me because I'm certain I've seen a similar photo of an old station, located somewhere in southern California. Why didn't the owner of this album use captions?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fair Use

I'm only going to put up notices about until the end of the year. After that, you're on your own. This weeks posts include a bit of classic American industrial design (A camera, no surprise there.), a fashion photo from the 1950s and a novelty postcard from my own collection.

American Surrealism

I can't imagine that either the photographer or printer intended that these photos should look like this. But if they did, all I can say is bravo! These two photographic misadventures are fascinating images.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shadows and Suits

When I was in college, I wanted access to the university darkrooms. To get that access, I was required to take an introduction to photography course. My teacher stressed that anyone who took a picture with the sun behind them, flunked. I rather like it when the photographer's shadow stretches into the frame.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Earl Darling, Number 2796

Just think. Before modern computers, digital finger print analysis, and the whole lot of modern crime fighting tools, this is how we looked for criminals. A postcard sized mugshot would be sent to local police departments on the off chance that someone would recognize Darling, Earl, escapee from the state pen. I'll bet this guy got picked up at least once on a vagrancy charge and was released before anyone at the local jail had seen this card.

Friday, December 2, 2011

David Cooper, Number 4483

Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but I hope that David Cooper got away. With luck, he found a nice, secure place to hole up, a way to make an honest buck, and some friends to fill his life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Reminder

Just a heads up on the new blog. Since will be limited to no more than three posts, and often less, per week, and since I'm going to put the weeks worth up all at once, I thought I'd put reminders up here for the first month or so when something new gets posted. It's that time of the week right now.
Too, I don't know why, but Blogger won't let me post comments anymore. What's strange is that others can post comments on any of my blogs while I'm blocked. This is a reply to "Barbiedoll" who left a question on one of my John E. Reed posts. If you see this, I'm sorry but I can't help with your search. I have no connection to the Reed collection. I'm just a collector of old photos. If you feel comfortable doing so, feel free to leave contact information as an additional comment and ask for help. Who knows what information people might have.

The Epworth League Album 32, It Does Rain in Southern California

This is another of my favorite photographs from this album. The first big real estate developers in southern California advertised all over the United States trying to induce people to leave places like Iowa and Pennsylvania and come west. One of the biggest draws was that it was always sunny in the Los Angles area. No snow, hurricanes, and flood causing rains. The reality is that it does rain in southern Cal and before the Army Corp. of Engineers lined the Los Angeles River in concrete, it also flooded fairly often. No matter how optimistic someone is, doubts will arise. Were these two people wondering just what did they get themselves into? As the saying goes, into every life some rain must fall.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Epworth League Album 31, An Epworthian Cross

In my small research into the Epworth League, I discovered a number of cultural references to the organization. From Sherwood Anderson to Ernest Hemingway and even in The Music Man, the League has been painted as a home for middle American dullness. Was this an Epworthian idea of good times? Hiking in the mountains to be photographed next to a cross? I'm a life long atheist, the only one in my family. My mother wasn't much of a church goer, just Easter and Christmas, but she did try and make me over into a believer. She wanted me to follow in my sister's footsteps and spend at least one summer at Jumonville, a Methodist church camp in western Pennsylvania. I'm happy to report that I wriggled out of that one, but I can remember the trips to pick up my sister, with all the campers hiking up to a sixty foot, mountaintop, steel cross. Lots of singing of hymns and holding hands.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Epworth League Album 30, Wild Creativity

It's my own personal prejudice (with nothing to back it up) that women are far more likely to compile photo albums then men. But who was the photographer? The lady who took the time to choose and then glue in the photos, or someone else? This album has a lot of rather ordinary, just stand there and look at the camera pictures, and also, photos like these. It's not just the way she tore the borders. Who ever took these had a taste for low angles, poses of people looking off who knows where, odd groupings. Click on Epworth League in the labels section, bring up everything and you'll find more than a few interesting choices made by the photographer. I would love to see a lot more from who ever it was that took these pictures. I wonder if the two guys in the cactus garden were getting impatient. "Come on, just take the damn picture." "No, I want to get it just right. And please, tilt that hat just a bit more to the left."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Epworth League Album 29, A Very Different L.A.

Hard to believe, but that beautiful rural land behind these four people is now covered in houses, schools and shopping centers. I recognize the ridge line as the San Gabriel Mountains, and while I can't be sure of the exact location, I'm pretty sure that the camera is pointed west, looking down the length of the San Gabriel Valley. That would mean Pasadena, Santa Anita and beyond. They look very confident in the future, don't they?

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Epworth League Album 28, Another Parade Picture

This is what I don't get. Sons of veterans? Why not actual veterans? Let's say this album was compiled in 1910, give or take a year or two. The Civil War would have ended about 45 years earlier. There would have been plenty of Civil War veterans still around. The Spanish American war would have been over for about a decade.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Big Announcement!

Well, not that big. I've pushed a bit beyond my all photos or photo based images rule for The New Found Photography a few times. Ephemera that was part of a bigger collection, hand tinted postcards, and I've thrown out doubts on things that look like photos but could have been illustrations. Should I just expand things and start adding non photo postcards, and commercial illustration? It's not like I can start another blog with what little I've got in my collection. There just isn't enough stuff to make it viable.

But I do have another collection that might fit the bill. A digital collection. One of the things about being underemployed is that I've got lots of time to surf the web, and when I find something that I like, it's right click save, and another few bytes of storage space on the hard drive. So that's it. Another blog that combines stuff sitting in my apartment and stuff I've found on line.

So what sort of imagery can be found at ? Well, my interests run from demolition derby to German expressionism; Silent moves, to fifties sci-fi, to Stan Brakhage; vintage watches, travel trailers, ocean liners, and cameras. Lots of stuff. And because I'm a history buff, I've also saved a few pretty repulsive images as well, and since I think it's better to look, rather than look away, well, be forewarned.

I've started with ten images. Unlike The New Found Photography, I'm not going to add any commentary. As Joe Friday used to say, "Just the facts, Ma'am." I'm also going to limit the number of posts I put up. I'll try and do at least one a week, but no more than three. And why Fair Use? Well, it's only a matter of time before I violate a copyright. With luck the fair use principal will shield me from law suits. And if not, so sue me. I'm broke so you won't get anything anyway. And did I mention that it would be nice if I'm not just doing this for my own amusement. Once again, it's

Running In the Snow

I think it's the same little girl. In any case I found them together. Judging by the cars it looks like these are from the mid to late thirties. It makes one wonder how this girl and her family did during the depression. A lot of people ended up loosing everything in that decade, but many others survived with their lives barely changed. And after those years, a world war. Perhaps her father or an older brother fought, and perhaps died.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lady Hobos

Yes, I know. They're not actually hobos. The Erie Railroad was chartered in 1832 as the New York & Erie Railroad to build a line from New York City to Dunkirk, NY, on Lake Erie. Construction began in 1836 and finally reached Lake Erie in 1851. The line would change it's name to the New York, Erie and Western Railroad as it built lines that would eventually reach as far west as Chicago. In 1895 it, once again, was renamed as the Lake Erie Railroad. In 1960 it merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad and became the Erie & Lackawanna Railroad. So we can know that this picture was taken after 1895. Hey, it's something. More info can be found on the often unreliable Wikipedia.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Golden Gate Casino

I take a look at a half dozen or so other blogs on a fairly regular basis. A week or so ago, in the comments section of one of those blogs, the question was asked, "What do people see in Vegas?" Since I was blocked from weighing in with my own comment, I thought I'd answer that question here.

We go to Vegas to sin in safety. There aren't many communities in the United States were you can't find a card game, and if you get mixed up with the wrong people, get in trouble. Unable to pay off a bet in some back room and you might get your knee caps broken. In Las Vegas, you buy chips up front, either in cash or on a credit card, and that's it. If you can't pay Visa, you might get sued and your spouse may kick you out of the house, but you won't see the inside of a hospital room. Want to get drunk? In Las Vegas, the helpful casino staff will help you back to your room and clean up the mess. And as long as you don't get violent or try and drive, the LVPD are more likely to call you a cab than take you to the drunk tank. Want to get laid? Well, there are plenty of other people looking for a hook-up wandering the casino floor, and if that doesn't work, prostitution is against the law in Clark County, but out call services are common and as long as she (or he) doesn't stay past check-out, it will be over looked. Still worried about breaking the law? Well there's always the shuttle to Nye County and a legal bordello. And if you should run into a friend, family member, boss or employee, they're probably doing the same thing you are. We go to Las Vegas because it's the Disneyland of mischief.

This postcard was mailed from Canoga Park, California on April 5, 1967. It was addressed to Mr. Loppy Clark, Rich Hill, MO, 64799. And the message, "Hi, I'm Broke. Will be home in a few days. Marion."

The Epworth League Album 27, Our New Home

This is one of my favorite photographs in this album and the reason I'm convinced that it isn't a collection about a trip to California, but about a new home on the west coast. There aren't many of these houses left, built before World War 1, and part of one of the first big building booms in the Los Angeles area, but some survive and if this one does, I'd love to find it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Epworth League Album 26, Finally The Epworth League

I was intrigued by this album because it seems to show the migration of one family from the mid-west to southern California at a time in history when the Los Angeles area was going through one of it's first major expansions. I was also irritated by it because there is not a single caption of any kind. Well, this image is as close as I'll get to an actual written clue. The badge on the front of the car is the logo of The Epworth League. The league was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1889 as an organization within the Methodist Church for members from ages 18 to 35 in order to promote "intelligent and vital piety among the young people of the church." The league is named for Epworth, England, home town of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. But was the owner of this album an Epworthian, (Epworthite? Epworther?) or did they just think it was nice looking float at the Rose Parade.